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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the best, 1 Nov 2007
By 
C. Shields (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Swingin' New Big Band (Audio CD)
To put it briefly, this disc contains the most important track ever made by the greatest (by far) drummer who ever lived, and it is also high on the list of all time finest big band recordings. If you're into any of those categories then at 5.47 it is a no-brainer: buy it. Further, Amazon partner it with Buddy Rich's Big Swing Face album, his other most seminal disc: the two together give you a huge chunk of core percussion history.

To elaborate: in the mid-sixties, drum-phenomenon Buddy Rich put together a new Big Band, at a time when this form seemed to be on the way out in the face of small (economical) rock-n-roll groups. The first outings of this band caused a major buzz, and by September 1966 Rich felt they were ready to record. Most (not all) of the tracks here were recorded over four nights at the Chez Club in Hollywood and the sensation created amongst the audience is clear to the ears.

What you hear is the Buddy Rich Orchestra, always one of the tightest units on the circuit, on very top form, well recorded, featuring some of its most celebrated members, such as Bobby Shew on trumpet and Jay Corre on tenor sax (Corre now lives in England and can be heard in drummer Pete Cater's Big Band). They play charts who's quality is perhaps attested to by how well they have lasted four decades. Readymix, Up Tight and Sister Sadie will knock the socks off any drummer who is new to them, while Rich plays with such fitting taste that "civilians" will in no way be alienated. This is not drummers-only music.

The original LP climaxed with Rich's West Side Story medley, the most famous kit-drums number ever, here in its architypal form. The final section begins with a press-roll accelerating from pianissimo before the band thunders in like an express train on a flat out arrangement of Somewhere that would have left Leonard Bernstein gasping for breath. It culminates with, you guessed it, the most famous drum solo in history, and one that is particularly fine in its musicality and aptness. It ain't just fireworks. (My drum teacher taught Westside Story to this recording from his own chart: when it got to the final solo he wrote "just listen!" in the manuscript...) A final stomping flourish from the band: audience erupt in delighted amazement.

And from that moment on an unmissable ritual at all Buddy Rich football matches.

Also included on this disc are several more "extras" from the same Chez Club sessions - though there is some confusion here because the list of tracks above omits some of those on the CD I have before me as I write: namely, Chicago and the small but perfectly formed Never Will I Marry, the first of many fabulous Rich Band outings for arranger Don Piestrup. A mistake copying the list out, Amazon, or is this an abridged album?

In short, if you have a pulse, buy this record. You can't live without it.

A little note for those for whom it may be useful. After this one, key Buddy Rich albums currently available are: Big Swing Face; The New One; Mercy Mercy; and Keep the Customer Satisfied. Man From the Planet Jazz has just been finally reissued: it is more for the hardened fan but also contains core material. And Rich in London is being reissued on 20 Nov 2007 in a form that includes all the original LP tracks, such as Milestones (strangely omitted from previous reissues) plus extras. If you want a Rich DVD, The Lost Westside Story Tapes is the one with which to start. Many, many more albums and compilations are available, but there you have the core available repertoire. Hope it helps!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riches, 7 Nov 2011
By 
Glenn "Omaha" (Devon England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Swingin' New Big Band (Audio CD)
Recorded live at the Club Chez, Hollywood California, this album is loads of fun. The audience response throughout adds to the album's energy. There are sharp sax solos by Jay Corre [as on the Stevie Wonder song 'Up Tight'], as well as some great trombone work by John Boice on 'My Man's Gone Now' and Jim Trimble on the brilliant 'West Side Story Medley'.

My absolute favourite on the album is this medley at 10 minutes of big band excellence. Rich orchestrates a booming opening blast with screaming brass and his drumming laying down a driving beat for Corre's saxophone to ride early on. Rich uses the drums to signal the song and mood shifts within the whole and there is a beautiful midway trombone delivery of 'Somewhere' that leads to an orchestral crescendo climbing to a Rich drum roll, then brass/drum duel sparking a drum solo victory that ignites the audience and this listener. This track closes side 2 of the original album but the cd adds another eight tracks, 'Apples' including more rolling Rich solos, and a sweet ballad 'Lament for Lester', though this latter track also appears on the cd version of 'Wham!'.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars jab, 13 Feb 2009
By 
J. Burns - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Swingin' New Big Band (Audio CD)
This cd just oozes class throughout. If you like quality and brilliant music buy it.
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